Horizon Coach Refurbishment

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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby gokeefe » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:50 am

I completely agree that the Gulf Coast service is the ideal location. Unfortunately they don't have a startup date yet.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:25 am

Whatever number of Horizon coaches that should linger around for longer than after the Amfleets are retired should definately operate on routes in warmer climates. The long distance trains running from NYC to Florida aren't a bad idea. It's probably an ever better idea for the proposed state sponsored corridor service running between New Orleans and Mobile to use horizons.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:52 am

It’s commonly held here that the Horizons are still no good in cold-weather service and need to have a snowbird-style home in the South or Southwest to function. Why do we think that? They’re in Chicago hub service today, and last I checked it isn’t very warm in either Wisconsin or Michigan either.

If anything, this tells me that since receiving the Dutch doors, the Horizons are perfectly well suited for cold temps but not for rapid loading. That makes me wonder whether the Lake Shore Limited and Cardinal are the right home.

Ideally, I’d like if there were enough to take over most or all of the eastern LD service. 200 cars would have quite comfortably covered seven eastern LDs (counting the Silver Palm and Three Rivers too); 120 could probably barely cover the needs of the current five while allowing the A-IIs their retirement. I don’t think Amtrak has enough to make that leap right now though, not fully.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby Anthony » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:31 am

gokeefe wrote:I completely agree that the Gulf Coast service is the ideal location. Unfortunately they don't have a startup date yet.

For the same reasons their use on the proposed Gulf Coast train would be best, the proposed corridors serving NOL-Mobile, NOL-Baton Rouge, and Birmingham-Montgomery-Mobile would also be good candidates for the Horizons after they're retired from the Midwest services.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby tomj » Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:23 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Ideally, I’d like if there were enough to take over most or all of the eastern LD service. 200 cars would have quite comfortably covered seven eastern LDs (counting the Silver Palm and Three Rivers too); 120 could probably barely cover the needs of the current five while allowing the A-IIs their retirement. I don’t think Amtrak has enough to make that leap right now though, not fully.


I personally don't think Amtrak should retire the Amfleets at all. Best case scenario with fleet replacement in this political climate is a 1 to 1 replacement of the original order including the few Metroliner cabs still be used. Amtrak is still generally in a bit of a bind when it comes to having enough capacity in some areas. Finding the Amfleet a home, even if only for another 10-15 years after their "replacement" would be best. We could also see if some new corridor or overnight services could work if Amtrak has any amount of extra equipment.

On the note of overnight service, I have thought about using at least the Amfleets to bring back open sections or adapting intercontinental airline business class as a budget overnight option. Think of it kind of a return of single roomettes. I know someone will say "slumber coaches" but would it be worth it to try to punch extra windows in an Amfleet or Horizon car? Or even structurally sound? Based on a rough drawing I did, if the Amfleet 1s have 60 feet of seating space by length, they could potentially fit 34 of these seats in the seating area. Or 36 open sections. All based on roomette dimensions and how wide the coach seat pairs are on Amfleet cars.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby gokeefe » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:10 pm

The problem is that they really need to because the window openings do not meet safety standards. My understanding (based in part on actual travel experience in them) is that the Horizon cars have somewhat larger windows.

We could talk about car age, potential maintenance issues, metal fatigue, mechanical department resources, passenger comfort, parts suppliers, administrative burdens etc until the end of time. All of those would probably be valid concerns as well. But the biggest problem of all is the safety issue. You need to be able to get people out in the event of an emergency and the present arrangement is less than ideal.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby Jeff Smith » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:11 pm

Just a reminder we do have a topic on Amfleet disposition.

Back to CtDOT: the Springfield line shuttles runs with cab cars (Metroliners). I assume the CtDOT MBB’s do? Is that an issue? Since they’re Comet-based, I assume not.

What’s their total (both services) fleet needs? Remember, the Greenfield extension starts in March IIRC. One uniform fleet, compatible with Comets (and presumably Shoreliners), with room for expansion.

Eastern LD is a good option, but can they run with Viewliner equipment, both I and II?

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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby gokeefe » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:03 pm

This brings up a really interesting question ... Are the Horizons even configured for push pull service? I would assume so given their use on the Hiawatha but perhaps not?
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby John_Perkowski » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:15 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Which Budd body are you talking, Colonel - the RDC, the Pioneer/Silverliner I-II, the Amfleet II (since you don’t mean the Metroliner/Amfleet I), the Metropolitans for LIRR and Metro-North, the Hi-Level, or something else?

This. The basic Budd coach shell, built in various forms from 1937 to 1964, at least.
Use a structural skin instead of decorative fluting. Give the passenger nice size picture windows for gazing when their noses aren’t in their laptops. Vary the size of restrooms based on haul distance, and vary seating density on same.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby tomj » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:18 pm

I would still think pushing the Horizon cars farther south or converting some of them into an experimental budget sleeper would be better options. Anything in the Northeast is likely going to get whatever replaces the Amfleet cars.

As for being capable for push-pull service, the dining cars on the comet San Joaquins work in a push-pull set up. So they should be, or at least could be configured to run in a push-pull set up.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby David Benton » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:02 pm

John_Perkowski wrote:
mtuandrew wrote:Which Budd body are you talking, Colonel - the RDC, the Pioneer/Silverliner I-II, the Amfleet II (since you don’t mean the Metroliner/Amfleet I), the Metropolitans for LIRR and Metro-North, the Hi-Level, or something else?

This. The basic Budd coach shell, built in various forms from 1937 to 1964, at least.
Use a structural skin instead of decorative fluting. Give the passenger nice size picture windows for gazing when their noses aren’t in their laptops. Vary the size of restrooms based on haul distance, and vary seating density on same.
DC9F8177-5EB4-4776-AEC7-6299F8FAE810.jpeg

That's a 55 to 80 year old design. If you go to a structural skin , then the underframe can be a lot lighter, if not pretty much eliminated.
Tnen you have basically got something like the new Siemens / Hitachi etc design anyway. No sense in reinventing the wheel, The Europeans and Japanese have the designs .
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby tomj » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:04 pm

If the designs for the California Cars weren't available to adapt, why would Siemens make their designs available to be adapted?
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby eolesen » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:06 pm

gokeefe wrote:This brings up a really interesting question ... Are the Horizons even configured for push pull service? I would assume so given their use on the Hiawatha but perhaps not?


Why wouldn't they be able to do push-pull? As you noted, they dun daily on CHI-MKE and in other Midwest corridor services where they can't turn the trainset at the far end...
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby gokeefe » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:37 pm

Was wondering if perhaps there had been only a partial fleet conversion to push-pull.
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Re: Horizon Coach Refurbishment

Postby electricron » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:36 pm

The initial post of this thread was in 2004, 15 years ago.
Have the Horizons cars been completely refurbished or remodeled since then?
I don’t think so, not to the extent of the latest Amfleet remodel.

These cars are being phased out and replaced over the next few years and I do not think there is a valid place to move them for continuing service with Amtrak. Maybe a commuter rail agency will pick them up for a cheap solution to kick modernization with brand new rolling stock down the road. Which brings up the question of who uses their sister Comets and wants more single level cars? Not NJT, not MTA North, not MBTA, and not SEPTA. They are all buying new double level cars, only MTA North and CDOT are planning to buy “new” single level cars, emphasis heavily on “new”, replacing those same Comets these old Horizons are sisters.

Which is probably why so many have suggested moving them to replace Amfleets on Amtrak’s non NEC routes. But let’s be honest with each other, the only Amtrak trains running on the eastern seaboard that do not run on the NEC less than a few miles are the Auto Train and Capitol Limited using Superliners, the Downeaster, and Empire Service trains using Amfleets. New York wants to buy new trains, and Maine only wishes to lease NEC rolling stock which will soon be mostly new cars.

Maybe Amtrak could place the Horizons on Empire Service trains to Long Island while waiting on “new” cars to be built initiating service sooner? That is the only possible use that I can see them being used on. There certainly would not be Amfleets becoming available until “new”cars start entering service.

And yet, the Horizons manual vestibule doors are considered by many incompatible with NY’s Penn Station. Really, these cars seem to work okay in Chicago on Amtrak’s most frequent intercity service in the Midwest.
Last edited by electricron on Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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